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October 20, 2010

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HSE to cut costs by more than a third

The HSE’s budget is to be slashed by 35 per cent by 2014-15, the Department for Work and Pensions has announced.

Commenting after the publication of the Comprehensive Spending Review, a spokesperson for the DWP stressed that the Government is committed to a fair and proportionate health and safety regime but said the HSE should cut costs in the same way as the rest of the public sector. She added: “In seeking to achieve savings of at least 35 per cent over the SR10 period, we will share more of the cost with those businesses who create risks, while reducing burdens on low-risk businesses.”

Prospect, which represents HSE inspectors, said such a policy is not new, but questioned what ‘low risk’ now constitutes. Its deputy general-secretary, Mike Clancy, said: “There needs to be an intellectual assessment of what are low, medium and high-risk businesses rather than of the fact that 35 per cent is being cut.”

UCATT general secretary, Alan Ritchie, added: “UCATT will be seeking assurances from the HSE that there will be no cuts in the level of front-line construction inspectors, and that there will not be changes in the manner in which safety laws are applied to construction.”

IOSH policy and technical director, Richard Jones, admitted cuts to the HSE’s budget were a concern, adding: “It’s important decision-makers remember that good health and safety is good for business and that health and safety failures are costly – cuts in this area can be both harmful and a false economy.”

Speaking prior to the Spending Review, he also expressed fears that occupational health could suffer amid the austerity measures, especially if the Government pulls the plug on pilot schemes currently running following Dame Carol Black’s review of health and well-being in 2008.

IOSH also warned the Government not to allow health and safety across the public sector to become a victim of cost-cutting. Chief executive Rob Strange said: “We understand that cuts are necessary, but we are extremely concerned that the safety of both workers and members of the public will be forgotten as managers desperately try to balance their budgets.”

IOSH believes that organisational changes – including reducing staffing levels, combining departments, and changing people’s roles and responsibilities – can increase the risk of injury if they are not properly managed.

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13 years ago

Clearly Lord Young’s review didn’t go far enough for the Government’s liking – but this announcement should make sure that the ‘excessive H&S culture’ is buried for good. Unfortunately as a result that may also be the wholly preventable fate for a number of workers.
Good health & safety as enforced by the HSE is good for business, it is not a burden. Clearly that is going to be a thing of the past.

13 years ago

This is going back to the good old days of Reaganomics/Thatcherism at its worst and the population is falling for it hook, line and sinker – now Cameroon David Young and others continue the dastardly work.
Applaud the bankers and MP’s who perpetuated the economic mess this (once) great country is in.
Safety – it is only common sense – according to David Young – the Mr. Young Grace of government

13 years ago

Not surpising news. The UK is in debt up to its eyes and savings have to be made somewhere – money does not magically appear out of the ether.
But at the cost of safety??
Setting aside the emotional responses, provided the money is saved in the right areas the impact may not be a great as expected – CHAPSI anyone??? As in any business – public or private – there are savings that can be made by increasing efficiency, not by cutting standards. Let’s hope the changes are carefully considered….